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Greece awaits European bailout approval

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 01:58

Feb. 20 - Euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels are expected to approve a second bailout for Greece, which should prevent Athens going bankrupt, help it restructure its massive debts and keep it in the euro, although there is some work to do to make the numbers add up.

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Crunch day for Greece. Euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels are due to agree on a second bailout for Athens - which it desperately needs to avoid bankruptcy. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was in a confident mood. SOUNDBITE: Greek Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, saying (English): "We are here, ready to conclude today this long process on the new Greek programme, and also we are ready to initiate the official procedure on the PSI. I am optimistic, but in any case we need the clear political approval from the Eurogroup." It's hoped the approval of the rescue package will put an end to months of turmoil that has shaken the euro zone. But ahead of the meeting there was still some work to be done to make the figures add up, said Chairman of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker. SOUNDBITE:Jean-Claude Juncker, Chairman of the Eurogroup, saying (German): "We will have to talk about the total volume of the second programme, we can't exceed 130 billion." Greece's debts currently stand at around 160% of GDP. Its international lenders, Europe, the ECB and the IMF have looked into how high that debt will be after a bond swap with the private sector. Some sources have said they expect the debt to GDP ratio to remain at around 129%. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. SOUNDBITE: German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, saying (German): "We still need clarity on the involvement of private creditors about a programme that makes sure that Greece does not exceed a debt level of 120 percent of GDP by the year 2020." With the worsening state of the Greek economy new measures are already needed to make the rescue package work. But euro zone ministers say the bailout will help restructure Athens' huge debts, make it more finanically stable and keep it inside the euro. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Greece awaits European bailout approval

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 01:58